Oral health is an important aspect of a persons wellbeing and its state can describe many aspects as well as make certain predictions regarding the patients past, present and future health status. Therefore, maintaining good oral hygiene as well as keeping a close eye on its appearance could go a long way in preventing many life threatening illnesses.
Mouth sores are a common occurrence that can be seen in the normal human population. Each one of us may experience this condition at least once in our lifetime. But, although we feel its presence and the pain associated with this condition, we rarely think about it as a threat to our life. Luckily, in most instances, it’s a benign condition associated with many environmental insults.
But, in certain instances, if the mouth sores are recurrent and the patient is having risk factors leading to a alteration in the genetic composition of a lining cells of the mouth, these sores would require your attention as it can be a ‘pre-cancerous’ event.
A patient with such recurrent mouth sores might indicate the presence of certain other signs which are also considered as ‘pre-cancerous’. Out of which, whitish or reddish patches which are thick in consistency and are non painful would be rated as the commonest. These patches are known in medical terms as ‘leukoplakia’ and ‘erythroplakia’ and its appearance, although considered benign in most instances, at times would lead to oral cancers.
In most instances, oral sores will closely follow the occurrence of leaukoplakia or erythroplakia in susceptible individuals and in-combination, is a strong indicator of either pre-cancerous process, immuno-compromised state or an extreme malnutrition state. In the elderly population, such mucosal conditions can also be the result of ill fitting dentures.
The only possibility of making an effective diagnosis of a pre-cancerous process would be to do a biopsy of the skin patch or else from the mouth sores. Atypical appearance of cells and disruption of cellular integrity would strongly suggest the presence of a cancerous process.
Therefore, if an oral sore or else a mucosal patch appear threatening, persisting, worsening or ulcerating; it needs to be investigated. A yearly visit to the dentist or depending on the risk, a more frequent visit would help in early detection of these pre-cancerous lesions and prevent a life threatening event. You should remember that, early detection of oral cancers which is limited to stage I, would have a 90% survival rate at 5 years from its detection if appropriate treatment strategies are adopted.